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Garden Design and Build Project – Iwade, Kent

Project 10 of 68

This project was located in Iwade, Kent. The site consists of the main house / dwelling, a back garden, front garden, driveway and a small passage way opposite the dwelling. There is also a garage / out building to the far end of the driveway.


The client asked us to redesign the entire space and we were given a very clear, well thought out brief. It was explained to us that the front garden was to be based on more of a Japanese theme and the back garden was to be designed more traditionally, hinting back to the cottage style of the arts and crafts period. It was then asked of us for the driveway to be incorporated into the design and the passage way to possibly be converted into a children’s play area.
From the start, it was important to consider that the whole proximity must unify as one, even though the separate areas had different style ideas and themes.

Particular requests from our client included keeping two existing Lilac plants from the back garden, to introduce a Prunus (cherry tree), a Corylus (Hazel tree), a grass playing area, to keep an existing apple tree, keep an existing tree house, and possible water features in both the front and back gardens.

The front garden:

Rather than creating a replica of a traditional Japanese design for the front garden, the final design included hints of traditional design in its simplicity. The simple use of line, shape, form and unity help to give the space a sense of serenity and calmness, which highly descends from Japanese ancient philosophies. It was important to create a unity between the architectural elements in the design and nature, which again feature so highly in Japanese design philosophy. This was achieved through the correct balance of timber structure, soft planting and the introduction of water. The open approach to the style of the front garden also allowed the design to link with other areas of the property avoiding overly dramatic contrast, which in a garden of its size would not work. Also, using contemporary straight lines in the design, it helped to visually link to the contemporary interior elements of the dwelling.

The rear garden:

In the back garden the large Willow tree and Apple tree (which housed the tree house), are pulled together by a large half moon timber platform using the same Western Red Cedar used also in the front garden. This became a wonderful position for the clients to sit and view their garden. A water feature has been introduced as a flowing rill to the outer edge of the platform leading to a small pond area.
To link the driveway and back garden, it was crucial to design a point of transition, which was achieved by creating a series of small pathways leading through a pergola surrounded by cottage style planting, meaning we could then make use of the existing Lilacs. The pergola was again based on tradition, but treated with a very contemporary approach, seen in its very skilled joinery. Also there is unity of materials (timber and paving stone) again from the front to the back.

The side passage:

This is more of a functional area for the children to play and run around in, and to be used for bin storage.
Artificial lawn has been laid for ware and tare on each end. As well as Pleached Photinia trees being planted along the boundary wall for privacy, Yew hedging has been cleverly planted to screen the view from the timber platform, but still providing access.

From start to finish the clients have been wonderful to work with and had great vision throughout the process. We have more than appreciated their trust in us as a team, from the enquiry stage, to completion.
It has been such a pleasure to work with such wonderful people in helping them achieve their dream garden.

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